BALTIMORE (AP) — Trey Mancini sat in the dugout for more than three hours before finally getting the chance to grab a bat.
Two big swings later, the rookie provided the Baltimore Orioles with another improbable comeback victory.
Mancini tied the game with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, then hit a three-run drive in the 11th to carry the Orioles past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6 on Wednesday night.
Baltimore trailed 6-1 in the eighth before rallying for a second straight night. Adam Jones hit a solo shot in the eighth, Mancini’s pinch-hit home run capped a four-run ninth and the rookie applied the finisher against Wade LeBlanc (3-2) in the 11th.
“That was definitely something I wasn’t expecting before the game tonight,” Mancini said. “Baseball is the game where you never know what can happen.”
Further evidence: Since the start of the 2016 season, the Pirates were 91-3 when leading after eight innings. Now they are 91-5 — including 21-3 this season.
One agonizing defeat is difficult to take. Two in a row?
“They’re challenging. There’s no doubt,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You come in and you’re able to put some runs up and the other team is able to come back and tie you up late and then walk you off, it’s tough.”
After blowing a save opportunity on Tuesday night in an extra-inning defeat, Pittsburgh closer Tony Watson entered this one in the ninth with two on, no outs and a 6-2 lead.
The lefty gave up a sacrifice fly and an RBI double before striking out Caleb Joseph. Previously 0 for 5 as a pinch hitter, Mancini hit several foul balls before driving the eighth pitch of the at-bat into the seats in right field.
“Being the closer, you’re supposed to close out games,” Watson said. “No excuses. It’s not happening. It’s inexcusable. We’ve got a lead there late and guys put up runs and you have to get the job done.”
In the 11th, Mancini hit the first pitch from LeBlanc over the left-field wall. As he arrived at home plate, he was doused with water and swarmed by his delighted teammates.
“To come in and make an impact, not just once but twice, it really is amazing,” Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said.
Mychal Givens (6-0) worked the 11th for Baltimore.
Jose Osuna homered for the Pirates, connecting with a man on in the seventh against Edwin Jackson, who was making his Orioles debut after being summoned from Triple-A Norfolk. Baltimore is the 12th big league team that Jackson has pitched for during his 15-year career.
Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl gave up one run, four hits, walked four and needed 90 pitches to get through the fifth inning. Yet, he was in position to earn his first win in 11 starts until Mancini connected in the ninth.
Orioles starter Wade Miley allowed four runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado was spiked by Andrew McCutchen while making the tag on the front end of a double steal in the second inning. Machado remained in the game, but was replaced two innings later by Ruben Tejada. The Orioles described the injury as “left wrist soreness.”
GIVE ME 10
McCutchen was taking a lengthy lead off third base when Max Moroff ripped a liner that barely cleared McCutchen’s head. After diving to the ground, McCutchen remained there and did a couple of pushups, which amused many in the crowd of 19,957.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 7-day concussion DL, the result of being struck in the face mask by a foul ball Tuesday night. C Jacob Stallings was summoned from the minors to back up Elias Diaz. … Manager Clint Hurdle said RHP Ivan Nova felt better after leaving his start Tuesday with a knee injury. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to lead to anything,” Hurdle said.
Orioles: C Welington Castillo (testicular injury) says he won’t need to catch in a minor league game before coming off the DL on Saturday. “I feel good to go. I just have to put on my gear and compete,” Castillo said.
Pirates: Pittsburgh opens a four-game series against visiting Miami on Thursday night by facing former Pirate Edinson Volquez, who tossed a no-hitter against Arizona in his last outing.
Orioles: Alex Asher (2-3, 3.62 ERA) makes his third start with Baltimore, taking on the host Nationals in the makeup of a May 11 rainout.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
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